Samarco Mineração, the mining company responsible for November’s deadly dam burst in Brazil, on Thursday offered $25,000 to each victim of the tragedy, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. The death toll in the incident reached 17 and two people remained missing, according to Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd., the co-owner of Samarco.
Samarco said in a statement that it was paying 100,000 Brazilian reais ($25,600) to families of the victims after reaching a partial settlement with officials in southeastern Minas Gerais state, where the Nov. 5 accident occurred, AFP reported. Samarco, co-owned by Brazil’s Vale, also said that it was paying $5,100 to each family whose house was sabotaged in the incident.
Furthermore, the company said that it was considering making other offers to the victims including in terms of lodgings, financial aid and "issues related to definitive compensation," AFP reported. BHP Billiton said Tuesday that it would release findings of an external investigation into the incident.
The fatal dam burst at Samarco’s iron ore mining site in Mariana city had sent thick red mud rolling down the hilly area. Lorries, cars and houses were trapped in the mining waste and the burst caused significant damage to environment. The cause of the incident is not yet known.
Last Friday, a judge in Minas Gerais froze the Brazilian assets of BHP and Vale on finding that Samarco was unable to pay for damages. The judge also ruled that the two companies could be held responsible for the incident, for which the government is demanding 20 billion reais ($5.2 billion).
Late November, BHP said that tailings in the mud that polluted Rio Doce, an important river in the region, were chemically stable and the chemical composition in the water would not be affected.